1963-11-22 - Bringing Valkyrie Home
Summary: Barney and Brunnhilde go back to the new bolthole. A half a conversation is had. Barney doesn't understand. Valkyrie does.
Related: Good Night Hilde, Good Morning, Valkryie
Theme Song: None
barney brunnhilde 

Silence is good. It's comfortable. It lets them work out their headspaces, a bit, and remember what it is to be alive. Hilde rides with him again, but not the rag doll in his arms as she was before. No. The Valkyrie is enjoying being awake for once, seeing this city through actually sane, aware eyes. Of course, all of Hilde's memories are locked in her head. She can remember these roads, but it's different actually experiencing them. She sits up, on the back of Barney's bike, watching everything with the curious, open gaze of someone truly seeing the world for the first time.

At least she's breathing?

The little apartment is approached far more easily than it was left. She doesn't even walk like Hilde. She's drawn to her full height now, equal to Barney. Hilde never seems this tall. She wears the wool wrap like some sort of elegant cloak. No part of her seems broken, though she's uncomfortably quiet. She knows this is not easy. She waits until they are finally behind closed doors when those silver eyes turn towards Barney. She just studies him for several moments, something worried creasing her brow. Humanity is not something she really understands. Not breathing ones. But something in the way his face look makes her chest ache. Or maybe that was the after effects of the overdose. Who knew? "…I'm… not gone, Barney. The woman you know… isn't gone. She's here. It's just… She is not merely what you think she is. She is more. *I*… am more."


Strangest damned thing. From cradling Hilde.. no, not Hilde.. Brun.. Hilde on his lap to having her strong enough to hold on to him on the bike as he drove back to the apartment. It's quiet, there's nothing but normal traffic around. If any FBI or SHIELD tagged him to follow him right now, their widows would be identifying the bodies tomorrow, such is his mood.

He can blame his red eyes on the wind during the drive back, and once there, and they take the stairs, each step slower and each foot heavier until he reaches the floor where the apartment is. The door is unlocked, and they go in, his entire manner and mien as if he's simply on autopilot. The roller coaster is exhausting, and there is, no doubt, more to come. The door is closed, and he turns around to throw the deadbolt. Once he does, he remains there, his head rocking forward so his forehead is against the doorjamb.

"There's gotta be a word for this. I mean.. how?" Barney turns around and shakes his head. "You're not Hilde. I… you're not the one who picked me up off the ground the first time.. hid me out…" He has to shake his head again as he strides over towards the fireplace; busy work. That's what he needs. Something to keep his hands occupied, and maybe he can just get rid of all of those thoughts that are flying around his head.


He is in shock. Denial. Doing anything he can to distract himself from the woman who stands elegant and calm in the inner sanctum of their home. Slowly, Brunnhilde shrugs out of that wool wrap, she doesn't need it any more. She moves to hang it up in the little closet because maybe there is a part of her that needs distraction also. A slow breath. This whole place smelled like them. Not like her battlefields. Not like her poppies. She then slowly turns back towards him, not coming to sit yet. Perhaps she isn't certain he will wish her to stay.

"…No. That part of me… the woman you normally know, she still rests. I don't know how much pain she will be in when she wakes up. This body took… damage, from your actions. Even if the other burned the poison out of her, there was still damage. Her heart. Her stomach. She will be hurting. I do not… wish her to give up. She tried very hard and I have done all I can to stop her because… I enjoy this life. But I cannot stay in dreams any longer. So… I am here. I know you. I have… watched you." A small, almost sardonic laugh crosses her lips.

"…In truth, Barney Barton, it was I who first saw you. The sweet scent of death all over you. You… called to me. Not to her. But she's the one that loves you." Because Valkyries don't love, do they? Even when they beg someone for this man's life.


Barney crouches down in front of the fireplace, listening to every word as he shoves paper in underneath the grate. Logs are settled in. Kindling.. and matches are lit. There, he watches the flames for a few long moments, long to him anyway. Her words sound as guilt in his head. "I just wanted her to sleep," is whispered hoarsely. Finally, just be able to curl up and go to sleep. Get a night's rest."

But Barney has the scent of death on him. He looks up at his… no… not 'his' Hilde before he rises to his feet again. He's trying to process everything, and there's simply nothing he can grab hold of in order to equate it with anything else in his life. Nothing fits.


"You found me and followed me, but she loves me." Love. What the hell is that word doing there? Barney takes a deep breath, and drops his hand into a pocket in order to take out his pack of cigarettes. There's a near fumble, but he manages to pull one out without dropping it, set it between his lips and toss the pack on an endtable.

"So.. what's gonna happen?" It's hard to ask that question; in a way, he doesn't want to know the answer. "Who are you?" It's that question that he's more concerned with. "I.. I smelled the flowers. Felt the battle.. saw the clouds of war. That's not me. I don't do that stuff." He doesn't take pride in a kill, nor does he find sorrow in it. It simply is. There is no exhultation.


It's a weird word. Love. But the Valkyrie has outted the woman who would probably never have the courage to say it aloud anyway. Not before it would be too late. Her eyes lift, studying him as he comes from the fire and struggles with that cigarette. She does not reach to help him with it. There is a calm, a peace behind her eyes that Hilde almost never seems to carry. Still haunted and drawn but stronger for it. Like the shadows are her friends, not a reminder of how little she eats. A ghost of a smile crosses her somehow fuller mouth as he describes the battle fields. Home. She shakes it off a heartbeat later.

"…I do not know what will happen. You may kick me out. You are not a man who likes change, Barney, and this has been a lot of change. I do not know if she will be worth such to you, once you understand the whole truth. I will keep her alive, as I always have. It is my life also." So that's how she survived the suicide attempts, the drinking, the starving, the cold. This silver eyed creature in the back of her skull.

"I am the Valkyrie. I am… from somewhere else. Your people…" She pauses, head tilting, her eyes narrow as she considers how to describe this, "Your ancestors, at least… used to worship us as gods. I am she who would bring the glorious, honorable dead to the fields of Valhalla. I would fight with the great hunt, fight in each war, and ensure those who fell found their way to eternity. The mortal… the woman, 'Hilde'… she has always practiced this also. You know it. She simply knows not why. When… I came into this body… it was a long time ago. Longer than she can remember. The child she was… was dead. Just a shell. I… took advantage of that. I gave her another life…" The woman is trying to explain this as plain and calmly as possible, while she has control. While she has the time.


Barney looks down searching for that book of matches that he'd used to light the fire. He doesn't find it, not immediately, so the cigarette is thrown with no little frustration into the fire. He catches every word she says, and finally, he's got a… sort of name. "Is that what I call you? Valkyrie?" At least he can say that.

He can see that peace, or more, the comfort of understanding herself in those eyes. A presence of knowledge, where Hilde's blue eyes were always filled with doubt. Hesitancy… until there was a moment when she could help. And then?

"She's worth a whole lot to me." It's a quiet admission, but one all the same. "I promised I'd protect her. Keep all the bad stuff away." All the people who would harm him would also try and harm her. He simply won't allow it. (Though he's down a gun, and they're not cheap! Or easy.)

It's the rest of the words that Barney finds confusing. The child that was Hilde was dead and there came Valkyrie to stand in her stead? "Uh.. right." He reaches up to scratch the back of his neck in confusion, but he's trying, he is. He wants to understand, but there just isn't the ability. Dropping his hand heavily, he moves to the couch before sitting down in an barely organized heap. Blue eyes continue to watch her, study her, and he asks slowly, "If you bring her back, is she gonna survive?"


The woman can see the lack of understanding in his features. Her brows still slightly crease. Part of her wishes to push, to explain more, but she isn't the being of nervous energy and doubt that Hilde is. There will be time. Often a part of being so long lived. Time seemed so much more in abundance. She nods in approval to his comment about Hilde being worth a lot. It is good to hear. It reassures her she can leave the woman in his hands and she can go back to dreams.

That last question makes her head tilt and she sighs slightly. She steps over to his side and actually comes to fold down onto the couch. Near, but not tempting. She does not wish to be on her feet when Hilde comes back. "…Yes. I believe so. The… Cheater helped. As long as you do not toss her out…" Again, "I suspect she will manage. She always does."

Then there is a slight sigh. The breath of a woman who acknowledges she may have overstayed her welcome. Valkyrie is *so* much more socially apt than Barney. Or Hilde. "…do you wish her back? I… I can relenquish control. I do not know how her mind will take this. She's not able to… deny much longer. She may remember this all. I do not know. But… I can help her wake."


Barney watches Valkyrie move and settle on the couch beside him. Not touching. He's not entirely sure he wants to be touched right now. It's just this side of too much, and as it is, he's going to take time to process everything. He shakes his head at her words, following up with, "I promised her I'd take care of her. She wanted to stay with me." See how well he actually takes care of her?

"If you stay, does that mean she gets more time to get better? I mean.. if you leave and she comes back, she's the one doing all the work?" How does that work? Does it work at all?

Why does he sound like a complete raving lunatic by asking these questions?

"If she's able to rest more with you out, then that's what she needs."


The next words are *not* a comfortable statement for Brunnhilde to give. Her lips press a moment or two, jaw tightening, as she considers the answer. She finally shakes her head. "…I… do not know. I have not ever studied this… physical relationship between the woman and I. This is not generally how it works but, as I said…Complicated." Even her cadence is a weird mix of something anicent, elegant, and an edge of the Bronx. Like she's been filtered through her thirty some years here in Hilde's body and has picked up certain habits, even as Hilde sleeps. It's clear there are echoes of the other woman in this one, just as it goes the other way.

"I believe rest is about the body. Actual rest. She… " And then something hits her, a flicker of almost guilt and realization at the same time. She stares hard at the floor, "…I believe she does not rest because I… fight to come out. Until recent, that was the only place I could…roam. I understand your… concerns. I shall remain quiet. Let her… Rest. I will take the dogs elsewhere and sleep will be had."


Barney watches Valkyrie as she considers. It's a matter, then, of how much consideration she's got for her 'hostess', as it were. The thoughts spoken aloud speak volumes, even if it's given sparely. He nods his head and presses his lips together in something of a grimaced smile.

"She needs rest. I wanted to give that to her." Barney's own words are soft. "Just until she's better. Just.. until she can figure out what is going on." Does he have to say it?

"Thank you."

He said it. Now, with that promise, Barney rises to his feet, finds the tattered remnant of a blanket in the bedroom and comes out, ready to put it over her for sleep. He's more than exhausted…


"…Come… you are exhausted to. Lie with your lady… Life will change. Enjoy these times you have." Those words are said with a wisdom that indeed seems ancient. Brunnhilde can see the writing on the wall, that everything will change after this. Perhaps the comfort of that half helpless, cold Hilde next to him will be as reassuring to him as it was to her.

And, with that… she doesn't even wait. The silver slips away, peacefully, and Hilde just starts to slump. Hopefully he will catch her, or the couch will if not. The jostle is enough to half wake her, a ragged, weak sort of breath taken. It hurts. Breathing hurts, for some reason, but she keeps doing it. "…Barn?… what… ? 'scold… I… I'm so tired… sleep, please?…Let's sleep…" She's half begging that, trying to draw him down into the couch with her so they can curl up together. He's not getting away with sitting up straight asleep. Not tonight.


Barney is so very tired; mentally and physically, and he's ready to drop. He won't, however. Not until Hilde is caught in his arms when Valkyrie releases her.

And there.. it's an obvious transition now, and Barney is up and making sure she doesn't fall. Instead, he guids her down until they're both sitting, at first. He has to settle the blanket properly, and once his boots are off, works to get her up and beside him on the small couch even while she's pulling at him. Curling together for some much needed sleep. Much needed peaceful sleep.


Fortunately, Hilde had no boots to remove. Still in those pajamas he brought her barely breathing form to the doctor in. So, it's easy for her to curl up against him. Still only half awake, just enough to find the warmth of his chest with her cheek, tucking her head in beneath his chin. She almost half buries herself in the blanketing, wrapped against his torso. Her skinny arm stretches out and wraps across his waist, hugging him in close. One leg drapes between both of his. It's like she's trying to get the largest amount of skin surface contact as possible.

She just needs him tonight. She doesn't really understand why she needs him, especially now, but she does. Of course the trick is that, secretly, she always needs him. Soon enough, her breath evens out into the depths of a long, calm sleep.


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